Trolling is a form of baiting online which involves sending abusive and hurtful comments across all social media platforms. It is another term used for bullying as no matter how you dress it up, it incites people to make comments to people that elicit further comments such as “go away and die” or “you are so disgusting, I hate seeing you around”. The messages are meant to cause the most distress they can and no consideration is given to the victims by the people who troll online. Trolls go to great lengths in making their messages as hurtful as they can so that the recipient of the messages sent believe and are convinced that what has been said is true. The difficulty is that most of the people who troll online send the messages anonymously and therefore makes it difficult to identify who the sender is. The person on the receiving end of these comments often feels isolated and does not tell anyone that they have been receiving such distressing messages.
Top Tips to deal with Trolling:
- Resist the urge to respond to abusive messages; this inflames the situation and demonstrates it has upset you
- Do NOT delete any of the messages, save, copy or paste messages to your inbox or send to an adult for safe keeping
- Report any incidences of trolling to the moderator on the site in which the message has been sent; as an example, if it is via Twitter, or Facebook, report it detailing exactly what has been said. The providers of the social media platforms have a legal and moral duty to protect their users
- Tell an adult you trust, your parents, carers, teacher, youth worker or someone you trust. It does not matter who you tell, as long as you tell someone!
- Do not suffer alone; trolling is a form of bullying and it is inexcusable
- Inform the school as even if it is taking place outside of school, it may be from someone in school who is known to you and could impact on you at a later date
- Report it to the police with copies of the saved messages
- Confide in trusted friends and if the same is happening to your friends, encourage them to report it